French colonization was not based only on economic exploitation. It was also driven by the idea of a ‘civilizing mission’. Like the British in India, the French claimed that they were bringing modern civilization to the Vietnamese. They took for granted that Europe had developed the most advanced civilization.
Colonies were considered essential to supply natural resources and other essential goods. Like other Western nations, France also thought it was the mission of the ‘advanced’ European countries to bring the benefits of civilization to backward peoples. The French began by building canals and draining lands in the Mekong delta to increase cultivation. The vast … Read more
If you look at the map of mid-eighteenth-century Europe you will find that there were no ‘nation-states’ as we know them today. What we know today as Germany, Italy, and Switzerland were divided into kingdoms, duchies, and cantons whose rulers had their autonomous territories. Eastern and Central Europe were under autocratic monarchies within the territories … Read more
Following the defeat of Napoleon in 1815, European governments were driven by a spirit of conservatism. Conservatives believed that established, traditional institutions of state and society – like the monarchy, the Church, social hierarchies, property, and the family – should be preserved. Most conservatives, however, did not propose a return to the society of pre-revolutionary … Read more
The model of the nation or the nation-state, some scholars have argued, is Great Britain. In Britain, the formation of the nation-state was not the result of a sudden upheaval or revolution. It was the result of a long-drawn-out process. There was no British nation prior to the eighteenth century. The primary identities of the … Read more
Germany – Can the Army be the Architect of a Nation? After 1848, nationalism in Europe moved away from its association with democracy and revolution. Nationalist sentiments were often mobilized by conservatives for promoting state power and achieving political domination over Europe. This can be observed in the process by which Germany and Italy came … Read more